Remote participation yet to take off in universities

A new study of 1,000 United Kingdom university students has revealed that, on average, students miss 10 hours of classes a month, yet UK universities are struggling to keep up with the remote study trend, which has taken off in the workplace to adapt to modern lifestyles.

The survey conducted by OnePulse for Owl Labs, the smart video conferencing company, revealed a severe lack of remote learning options at UK universities, with 59% of students stating they do not have the option to attend lectures or seminars remotely.

On the flip side, universities that are embracing the remote learning demand are unfortunately hindered by stagnant technology, resulting in a lower quality of education than those in the room, the survey found. When joining a seminar remotely, more than 40% of students note that they find it hard to pay attention (42%) and difficult to absorb information (41%).

Max Makeev, CEO of Owl Labs, said: “With UK universities struggling to fill places, institutions must start adapting to student needs and the evolving work environment, so they can get the most out of their education.”

The study found that while on average university students miss 10 hours a month of seminars and lectures, one in three miss 10 hours or more a month.

It also found that 59% of UK students do not have the option to attend seminars or lectures remotely; 42% do not have the option to attend remotely but can receive class materials; 17% do not have the option to attend remotely and cannot receive class materials unless they attend; 28% have the option to attend classes remotely by watching recorded content after the fact; and 13% have the option to attend classes at the time they’re being taught via video conferencing technology.

Joining in remotely has its disadvantages, however. An overwhelming number of students say communication and collaboration declines immensely when joining remotely, with more than 40% admitting they have a hard time staying engaged when joining meetings remotely.

Some 42% find it hard to pay attention, 41% find it hard to absorb the information, 36% find it difficult to join the discussion, 34% find it hard to follow the discussion, 21% find it difficult to see other classmates and 20% find it difficult to see the professor.

Makeev said: “Universities cannot ignore remote and flexible learning demands, and it’s crucial that they adopt an effective solution that can adapt to everyone – no matter where they are. Effective learning requires strong communication, and UK universities are not equipped to achieve this with their current remote learning tech.”

Owl Labs claims its own 360° smart conferencing camera, which automatically tracks and focuses on the person speaking to create a feeling of being in the room with those at the meeting, is one of the first Internet of Things or IoT devices designed to improve collaboration and productivity.